met transgender activist and independent Lok Sabha candidate Bharati Kannamma in Madurai last Wednesday, the day after the Supreme Court of India officially recognized transgender individuals as the country’s ‘third gender’.
Kannamma is a highly educated and popular figure, and is known for her social service to people living below the poverty line.
It was interesting for me to observe the campaign of an independent candidate who lives and works mostly on the fringes of our society. These pictures are my visual observations of her low-key campaign, where I was trying to gauge society’s acceptance of her.
Transgender activist and now independent candidate, Bharathi Kannamma addresses prospective voters in Madurai’s KK Nagar.
The campaign mostly involved riding around in a car, appealing to voters from inside the vehicle and asking them to vote for change and equal rights for all. Kannamma and a friend enjoy a lighter moment.
Nitya Rao is an independent Indian photojournalist based in Boston. She is interested in documenting political and human interest stories, and is currently traveling across India to capture the mood of the country as it conducts its 16th Lok Sabha election. Her aim is to create a traveling exhibit, which will illustrate the changing face of politics in India. Nitya has worked as a reporter for Outlook, The Indian Express and Thomson Reuters, and holds a Masters degree in Photojournalism from Boston University. To find out where she’s heading next follow her @niftyindex